“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place — so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.” – Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
My mother says I am the queen of fixing things. If there is a problem, I find a solution. Quick. Right now. Before anything else can go wrong.
According to history, this need to fix mainly manifests itself in the living and breathing broken — a baby bird pushed out of its nest, a rabbit with a broken foot, a little brother, a best friend, a young love.
She says I was always dragging them home with me to make a stint out of chopsticks or a cast of construction paper and tape. I fixed the bruises left by school bullies with board games and cartoons. I mended broken hearts and teenage girl drama with chocolate chip cookies, fashion magazines and Johnny Depp movies.
But I always fell in love with my wounded, and I could never bring myself to let them go again. The problem was, the more I loved my wounded, the stronger they became. Until soon they were strong enough to run away, to fly to the top of a tree, or simply to out grow their need for me.
Today, I got an invitation in the mail.
A light cream, linen-blend envelope. Printed with slanted, slightly overly-spaced calligraphy done with a shaky hand who’d watched a YouTube video on how to form the elegant script just for this occasion. Special stamps because even traditional postage won’t do today.
It’s a wedding invitation. “Come share in the joy of the truest of loves,” it begins in its elegantly embossed black script.
The RSVP card gives two options:
- I wouldn’t miss it
- I wish I could be there, but I’ll celebrate from afar
That’s all I have to choose from? I have to pick one of those two boxes to package up all of the emotions that course through me when I slide this invitation out of its fancy envelope?
I never was any good at multiple choice.
My very first boyfriend — very first love, I’m assuming that’s what that horrific burning feeling was — is getting married. And I’m invited. And I have two boxes to choose from staring back at me from a fancy piece of paper. With fancy writing and riddled words.
And somewhere in my clouded mind that can’t seem to stop staring at this damn piece of paper, I’m secretly somewhat shocked. All this time, he’s existed without me, and it’s strange, faced with this reality. People don’t just freeze in time when they exit your life. They continue on. They grown and change. They live. With other people.
My mind has wandered back to my older brother’s wedding with my 18-year-old date dressed in a crisp suit that he’s never worn before spinning me around with ungraceful, stumbling steps as we dance on the scuffed parquet wood floor. “You think that will be us one day?” he’d asked me and of course I’d said yes because when you’re 18 and a boy in a suit asks you to dance, you think you’ve found your fairy tale.
How sad it is that our first love and our first heartbreak usually coincide with each other. Young, pure emotions shattered by the realities of life. It isn’t fair that the memories of our first romance are scarred by the pain of its ending. Our first love is supposed to be a monumental movement, a transition of sorts between the innocence of childhood and the demands of being an adult. Instead, it is a cliff’s edge. A plunge into the dark waters from soaring heights and pure adrenaline-fueled elation. It’s what makes the slap of the freezing cold water so harsh — that you see it coming, racing at you with no means of escape … but you do nothing to stop it.
My eyes refocus on the card and I grab a pen off of my desk. I draw a box of my own — a third option — and then my messy handwriting scrawls my response across the pristine card: I cordially decline, best wishes.
… And love can mend your heart
But only if you’re lucky now.